HTBARP 16 Per Ole Hagen: A Solution Against Rights Grabbing Photography Contracts


In this episode, I´ll discuss with Per Ole Hagen how to deal with rights grabbing contracts and how the guys in Norway found a way to fight against these stupid restrictions.

So, let´s think about it. When bands like FooFighters and Megadeath using rights grabbing contracts all over the world, but they drop them in Norway, we sure can learn from our colleagues.

Therefore this interview can be the basis for a paradigm shift in the concert photography business. For me, it´s important that you understand exactly what those rights grabbing contracts are and why you should never sign them.

Per will reveal the Norwegian way on how to deal with rights grabbing contracts and talks about solutions and challenges in our industry.

Vintage Trouble Per Ole Hagens Kampfar Per Ole Hagen Vidar Busk Per Ole Hagen

In this Episode, You’ll Learn

  • All about rights grabbing photography contracts
  • Why you should never sign such a contract
  • What we as a concert photography community can do against it
  • a solution that the guys in Norway are using to shoot bands without any contracts

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  • rejectrepublicanlies

    Not sure it will work in the United States. The labels, management, publicists and bands hold a lot of power, especially the big bands.

    • Thanks for your comment. I was discussing this issue with Steve Brazill in Episode 4 too:
      Te challenge is to get everyone on board. However, the interesting thing is to that media coverage seems still important for those bands (even big ones), otherwise they wouldn’t drop the contracts. If, we as concert photographers decide not to sign any rights grabbing contracts at all, labels and management might change their strategy. But, I agree it´s a community effort.

  • Jakob Muxoll

    Living in Denmark, I can tell you pretty much the same story as Per. No one in the industry in most of Scandinavia signs rights-grabbing contracts. At all.

    That’s why a band like Guns ‘N Roses, when they played Copenhagen in June, didn’t pull out any contract to anyone. The months before the show, I saw numerous photos online from people sharing the GnR contracts and their crazy content, but since a band will simply not get any coverage here with a contract (and I know for a fact that Live Nation are telling the bands this), then they don’t bring any.

    I shot GnR without contract, but from the first barrier (pretty much at 200-300mm the whole time). I can use my images how I like.

    The only contract I’ve seen, was Garbage last year. It said that both Garbage and I would have the rights (retaining my ownership), but that I couldn’t use them for making merch.
    Last line said “…This contract is effective in the state of California…” No mention that I had to send them any files. So its restrictions was basically limited to California.
    I signed it, took a photo of it for my records, put the best images online in hi-res, never heard a thing about it.

    This is exactly what the attitude should be in the industry. In our case, Live Nation helps a great deal by informing the bands about this, but also the fact that everyone in the industry just boycott the show. We’re smaller countries, but many photographers know each other on Facebook here, and it’s just considered bad attitude and an undermining activity if someone says they shot some show, which everyone knows had a bad contract.

    • Thanks so much Jakob for your insights! You guys are definitely doing things right! I wish for our community that more photogs think like this way.

    • Per Ole Hagen

      Hi Jacob. I am glad this is a Scandinavian thing, then it happens I a bigger market than just Norway, Denmark or Sweden alone.

      The “California” thing means that if any court case happens from breaching the contract, its will be set in a Californian court and follow Californian law. That is a much worse case than having it in a Danish curt, since it will cost a lot of money even for a win.

      • Jakob Muxoll

        Hey Per

        Well, I asked Live Nation what that phrase meant, and they said it meant “contract terms valid in California”…

        They might have informed me wrong though…

        • Per Ole Hagen

          No, it would make no sense to have a contract in another country with terms that are only valid in California. I have seen man recording contracts the 27 years I was head of music and responsible for music rights at NRK, and discussed them with our lawyers. To plead a case in the US as such, you have to hire an American lawyer, no Danish or Norwegian lawyer can appear in a US court. That’s why it can be really expensive, even if you win.

          I agree this contract doesn’t sound as bad as most, but Garbage had no contract when I shot them in Oslo last year.

      • Jakob Muxoll

        Nevertheless, I’m not planning on selling any merch….ever…, so this contract worked for me 🙂

  • Marcin Kamil Świostek

    Thanks for the podcast. I didn’t catch the name of the service Per mentioned… Pixels?